I love trying out new ways to keep healthy, especially ones that allow me to eat lots of food.
So upon catching up with an old friend, Fiona Campbell, who happens to be a top-notch nutritionist - I was fascinated to learn about a new diet sensation known as the 'Nordic Diet'.
Expanding on my last my previous blog about eating naturally ( which is still working!) 'The Nordic' focuses on eating locally sourced natural food that is eaten in season. So not only does it seek to help people lose weight but also lower carbon emissions (hooray!)
In all fairness it does make sense, why are flying in our 'superfoods' from Brazil when there are so many wonderful things grown locally - especially in the UK where farming is a huge industry. In Fiona's words; "I'm concerned about the nutritional quality of the food people are eating that has done far too many food miles. Important nutrients like vitamin C are lost in fruit and vegetables when they travel and are left sitting on the supermarket shelves".
From all my experiments with juicing I'm aware that fresh natural food is very quick to lose the good stuff unfortunately. A freshly made juice will lose most of it nutrients in the first 20 minutes.
Personally, it doesn't feel right for me to be on a "diet" for the rest of my life. It is preferable to live by a set of principles that just feel instinctively but also logically right. So it is a enlightening and actually just rather nice culture to look at things like where the food has come from and how much it benefits us rather than how many calories does this contain.
The New Nordic Diet recommendations came out in 2012. And as you probably have already gathered from the name, follows traditions of Nordic countries such Denmark and Sweden that enjoy simple diets with organic standards. Certainly Nordics are known for their radiant skin, and glowing complexions. Indeed this was one the first changes I noticed in myself when trying it for myself - my skin was brighter, and people did comment on how much healthier I looked.
So is eating Viking style basics the new successor the popular Mediterranean diet? I wondered if it really is that simple to apply wherever you live the world. I moved to California earlier this year and recently returned after a long trip to Europe, and transitioning the diet to my new location actually was very simple. Fresh seafood from Redondo Beach, and snacking on locally grown almonds and avocados certainly didn't create any complaints for me.
So if you're struggling to choose which of the latest food fads to follow, it might be time to re-think your strategy and try the Nordic way of life. The idea of 'cutting out' certain food groups like fruit or potatoes because they're souce of "carbs" can limits your exposure to nutrients and therefore potentially put your health at risk - not to mention making it more difficult to manage your weight. I'm not anti-gluten, anti-grain, anti-meat, anti-lentil, or anti-anything. I think all food has its place, it really is all about balance.
Two studies were published last year that showed eating like the Vikings could help you lose three times as much weight as following the Mediterranean diet. It could do a much better job of lowering your blood pressure, and decrease risk of type II diabetes. Finally flying our food around less could help to reduce carbon emissions from the food chain by 25% by 2025.
So if you think the Nordic Diet is for you; Here is a quick snapshot of what you need to do...
- Switch from refined cereals to wholegrain cereals, such as porridge oats
- Emphasize oily fish, and nuts and seeds, that are rich in good fats
- Switch from high fat dairy products to low fat dairy products
- Increase your intake of vegetables, beans and lentils, fruit and berries
- Limit your intake to two palms sized portions a week of red meat
- Minimize your consumption of processed meats, food and drink with added sugar, salt and alcohol
There is a fabulous article on Daily Burn that gives some great recipes as well as more in depth facts about The Nordic.
Finally if you simply want someone to make it easy for you, you can download Fiona Campbell's 14 day meal plan and shopping list on the app store.